The Black Prince
Born on 15th of June 1330
Died in Westminster, London
Died on 8th of June 1376
Edward, Prince of Wales, was called The Black Prince either because of his black battle armour or alternatively his bad temper – the name was given after his death and history does not reveal conclusively how it was earned. Amongst his achievements he initiated the devastating military use of the longbow by the English.
The eldest son of Edward III , Edward was born on June 15, 1330 at Woodstock in Oxfordshire and was expected to inherit the throne. His first steps up the aristocratic ladder began as early as age seven when he was made Duke of Cornwall , the first Duke to be created in England. Then in 1343 he was made Prince of Wales. This was no sinecure as he was expected to fight with the English army against the French, something he did with distinction at the Battle of Crécy aged only 16. His prowess as a warrior and leader was confirmed at Poitiers in 1356: he won the battle and took the French king prisoner, bringing a ransom of 3,000,000 gold crowns plus the province of Aquitaine.
In 1362 Edward married Joan Plantagenet of Kent and the couple went off to France where Edward was to be the ruler of the provinces of Gascony and Aquitaine. Here he managed to alienate both the nobles and the peasantry eventually provoking them into open revolt. His expedition to Spain to restore the deposed King Pedro of Castile was the last straw as he taxed his subjects to pay for the adventure which ultimately proved the misadventure that ruined his health and fortune. In the ensuing revolt Edward massacred the population of Limoges in 1370 and made himself so unpopular that in the end he gave up and came home a year later.
In England mourning the death of his oldest son Edward and in poor health he nevertheless worked to reform the English constitution and but for his early death aged 45 – thought to have been from cancer or MS - he would probably have succeeded, in spite of being alienated from his father. Edward the Prince of Wales died on June 8 1376 at Westminster.
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